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Aromatherapy for SAD by dfgh4bnmu


									                 Aromatherapy for SAD
                                                    by Wendy Gist MS Natural Health

    Winter can be a magnificent                                                                       light variation for centuries.
time of year to enjoy the smell of                                                                    Winter depression is four times
nature if you employ the power of                                                                     more common in women than in
true aromatherapy. Plant                                                                              men.' People between the age of
essences have been used for ages                                                                      20 and 40 are most susceptible.
to change moods and elevate                                                                           but SAD does affect all age
emotions. For those feeling down-                                                                     groups.^ At least one in 50 people
in-the-dumps due to light depriva-                                                                    in the UK are thought to have
tion, the time has come to chase                                                                      SAD. and one in eight people
those unwelcome blues away.                                                                           have the less severe form known
    Feeling blue as the days get                                                                      as the 'winter blues'." There are
shorter? With winter around the                                                                       many symptoms associated with
bend, seasonal change is upon us, and          moods shift from irritability to depression   seasonality. Do you recognize any of the
many suffer from mood swings caused by         to non-motivated behaviours and               following in yourself or in a family
lack of sunlight. Here's a tip: consider       complete exhaustion, winter blues can         member?
adding Aromatherapy to your routine.           seriously affect productivity. Seasonal       • Drop in energy level;
    Aromatherapy is a natural approach         Affective Disorder (SAD) affects an esti-     •  Irritability:
employed to relax and restore balance          mated half a million people every winter      • Difficulty concentrating;
between mind, body and spirit. Aromas          between September and April. Most             • Tendency to oversleep;
have been known for centuries to promote       agree the toughest months for seasonal        • Fatigue;
healing. This therapy is a natural             suffering are December, January and           • Weight gain;
management technique consisting of             February.                                     • Change in appetite, especially a
essential oils applied either to the body or                                                   craving for sweet or starchy foods;
inhaled, and is defined as "the use of         SAD Symptoms                                 • Loss of libido;
selected fragrant substances in lotions            "One of the symptoms is decreased        • Weakened immune system;
and inhalants in an effort to affect mood      levels of serotonin, the hormone that        • Severe depression.
and promote health."' Consider giving          helps us maintain a feeling of well-being,"     These symptoms can be difficult to
essential oils a try to mitigate seasonal      explains Aromatherapist Virginia            live with on a daily basis, and can range
mood swings.                                   Evangelou, certified practitioner and       from mild to severe. If you believe you
                                               teacher, and a contributing writer for      are suffering from SAD, consult your
Feeling Blue?                                  Complementary and Alternative Medicine physician.
    The changing seasons come with             Inform,ation for Teens.^ "It has been
bitter cold temperatures, grey skies and       shown that essential oils may help          Aromatherapy: Management Solution
lack of sunlight, which can inflict suffer-    combat this hormonal imbalance,             for Mood
ing and disruption in our ability to func-     specifically Frankincense, Marjoram,            Scent has a profound effect on the
tion in daily routines. Furthermore,           Geranium, Bergamot, Lavender,               emotions. 'There is a powerful associa-
humans' internal biological clocks             Chamomile and the citrus-derived oils,"     tion between odour and memories which
{referred to as circadian rhythms) are         she notes.                                  trigger our emotions." "You never forget a
affected by lack of sunlight, which inter-         SAD was isolated as a clinical disor-   scent, but the memory you associate it
feres with our psychological relationship      der in the 1980s. However, animals and      with will affect your emotional response,
to the outer world. For many, when             humans have been affected by seasonal       e.g. the smell of your childhood home, a

22                                                                                                               POSITIVE HEALTH December 2007
new baby, a walk in the woods, baking
                                                  Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects an estimated half
cookies, or a lover's cologne, all of which       a million people every winter between September and April.
can conjure up long-forgotten memories,           Most agree the toughest months for seasonal suffering are
either positive or negative, and conse-
quently have profound and lasting                 December, January and February.
effects."'                                        ...but SAD does affect ail age groups." At least one in 50
    In addition, the scent of the ocean
after a rain storm may evoke childhood            people in the UK are thought to have SAD, and one in eight
memories, the aroma of freshly baked              people have the less severe form known as the 'winter blues'.'
apple pie may stimulate the appetite, and
the prolonged odour from a rose garden
may evoke feelings of warmth and joy.         scent, on physiology and mood following       downright depressed during the hard-
Conversely, exposure to unsavoury             an anxiety-provoking task, revealed that      hitting months of winter may seriously
scents, such as rotten eggs or burning        'when individual perception of scent pleas-   consider Massage Aromatherapy as a
sulphur generally sours the mood. Being       antness is controlled, scent has the poten-   calming therapy. Aromatherapy Massage
aware of the scents that surround you,        tial to moderate different aspects of mood    involves aromatic oils combined with
therefore, can be beneficial.                 following an anxiety-provoking task'.*        massage touch, which aid in relaxing the
    Teodor Postolache, a Psychiatrist who                                                   body. Aromatherapy Massages offer
has worked with numerous SAD patients,        Agitation                                     relaxation and physiological rejuvenation
found interesting evidence that odours            A 2007 study published in the             through the stimulation ofthe nervous
play a role in seasonal depression.           International Journal of Geriatric            system, whereas inhalation techniques
Postolache's studies reveal that people       Psychiatry revealed that "lavender is         are useful for respiratory conditions.
with SAD have a more acute sense of           effective as an adjunctive therapy in alle-
smell than people who do not suffer from      viating agitated behaviours in Chinese        Oifactorv :\r(Jtiintht'r;ip\-
seasonal depression."                         patients with dementia."*                          Olfactory Aromatherapy is a method
    It is believed that natural plant oils        Although there are many effective         of releasing essential oils into the air for
may stimulate regions in the brain,           ways of treating seasonal blues, such as      inhalation. Inhalation is the most effec-
including thoae controlling endocrine,        anti-depressants, cognitive therapy, light    tive way to stimulate the brain and
immune, and limbic (emotional centre)         therapy and exercise, other complemen-        limbic system. The inhalation approach is
functions. Scientific studies have shown      tary approaches such as Aromatherapy          distributed by spraying distilled water
essential oils to produce consistently        may be considered as a management             mixed with natural essential oils into the
different patterns in EEG tests on the        method, in particular on days when all        air. and also by diffusion. Diffusion is
brain, and that aromas may also have a        other options seem to fail.                   evaporation achieved through the use of
subliminal or unconscious effect on                                                         aromatherapy equipment which disperse
mental states. Several studies demon-         Implementing Aromatherapy                     essential oils into the environment.
strate the beneficial effects on mood and         Essential oils are highly powerful        Diffusers come in the form of aroma
depression.                                   concentrates and must be diluted or           lamps and room sprays, and can also be
                                              blended into unrefined carrier oils, such     inhaled by placing a couple of drops of oil
Depression                                    as coconut, apricot kernel, avocado,          on a tissue. Place a few drops of your
    A 2006 study investigating the effects    jojoba, peach nut or sweet almond. Do not     favourite oil on some cotton wool and put
of lavender fragrance on sleep and            apply undiluted to skin. Here are three       it in clothes drawers and linen cupboards.
depression, published in the Taehan           ways you can use them:                            All types of Aromatherapies, includ-
Kanho Hakhoe Chi Journal., revealed                                                         ing Inhalation Therapy, Ointment
that lavender fragrance had a beneficial      Cosmetic Aromatherapy                         Therapy, Bath Therapy, Massage
effect on insomnia and depression in              "Fm an enthusiastic proponent of long     Therapy and Creams, may be beneficial
female college students."                     soaks in luxuriously scented hot baths,       to this all too real seasonal misery.
    A 2005 study published in the same        but do remember that extreme heat
journal, using the essential oils of          destroys the properties of the oils, so the   Consult a Professional
lavender, marjoram, eucalyptus,               water should be a comfortable tempera-            Essential oils have various effects on
rosemar;' and peppermint, mixed with          ture".^ Cosmetic Aromatherapy combines        the body, depending on the individual's
carrier oil composed of almond, apricot       essential oils for application to the body.   needs and the type of essential oils used.
and jojoba oil, clearly showed that           Essential oils applied to the hair, feet,     Safety procedures should be followed.
'aromatherapy has major effects on            face, skin and body may cause a person to     Virginia Evangelou points out that while
decreasing pain and depression levels',       feel rejuvenated, especially when you are     essential oils are very safe when used
suggesting that Aromatherapy can be a         feeling down-in-the-dumps.                    correctly, it is important to realize that
useful nursing intervention for arthritis                                                   although they are derived naturally, and
patients.'                                    Massage Aromatherapy                          contain no harmful synthetic chemicals,
                                                  Seasonal depression can make one          they do contain many natural chemicals
Mood                                          feel lifeless at times (which causes low      and so are very potent.
    A 2004 study published in                 energy levels), leaving the body drained,         It is important to consult with a regis-
Psychological Reports, assessing the          sluggish, tired and unmotivated. With         tered Aromatherapist who is well-versed
effects of water, lavender, or rosemary       such symptoms, many people who feel           on how each oil work. Always discuss

PosmvE HEALTH December 2007
                                                  label. It is not advisable to purchase oils         Due to essential oilB' stimulating
                                                  with the word 'fragrance', or list other        qualities and possible affect on the brain.
                                                  synthetic ingredients such as Phthalates        one may find much hope in chasing the
                                                  which are found in synthetic, petro-            winter blues away with Aromatherapy
                                                  chemical-derived fragrances. Current            applications.
                                                  research has shown that phthalates can              Look for essential oils that generate a
                                                  do kidney, liver, and reproductive              positive emotion in you, then set them up
                                                  damage,                                         in your daily routine. Evangelou
                                                       One tip is to purchase 100% pure           comments on three of her much-loved
                                                  products made from plants with no added         anti-depressant oils:
                                                  synthetic substances. Look for natural
                                                  and organic essential oils. It is best to use    • Bcrgamot
                                                  oils that are bottled in opaque (dark)              I love the tangy freshness of the
                                                  glass, and steer clear of oils that do not      citrus family and feel Bergamot is one of
                                                  list both the common and Latin botanical        the most versatile. Its delicate orange-
                                                  name. "None should be taken internally,         lemon balsamic scent is refreshing,
                                                  unless under the care of an aromathera-         uplifting, calming and balancing to the
                                                  pist with advanced training in internal         mind, body and spirit.
                                                  aromatherapy (popular in France, where              It has a multi-layered effect on the
                                                  Aromatherapy treatments are covered by          emotions, most beneficial in relieving
                                                  medical insurance)," advises Evangelou.         stress, tension, anxiety, depression, frus-
                                                  Younger children should not use                 tration and anger. This oil can help you
                                                  Aromatherapy. Pregnant women should             regain self-confidence, while restoring
alternative approaches with your doctor,          avoid essential oils, as well as people         your vitality, building immunity and
especially if you are taking prescription         with certain illnesses such as asthma,          evoking warmth and joy in your heart;
drugs or using other therapies. Get               epilepsy, and high hlood pressure.
advice on what oils to use since some are                                                          • Cliiry Sage
toxic and harmful. Aromatherapists are            Choose Your Mood                                    Incomparable is the only way to
trained on how to hlend high quality                  Many essential oils possess 'antide-        describe the musky, earthy yet hright.
essential oils to meet an individual's            pressant' and mood lifting qualities, but       sweet and floral scent of this intoxicating,
needs. "A trained Aromatherapist has              we should he careful to choose those that       sensuous oil, which can cause euphoria in
taken the time to learn about essential oil       best suit our needs. "If you are feeling        large amounts. The effects of this enig-
safety, and can pass on their expertise so        lethargic and fatigued, sedative oils will      matic oil are primarily psychological; said
the layperson can enjoy them safely,"             only exacerbate the problem. However, if        to give courage and feed the soul, Clary
emphasizes Evangelou.                             depression is causing insomnia, irritabil-      Sage can help regenerate your energy,
                                                  ity and restlessness, sedative oil is           balance extreme emotions, inspire your
Safe and Effective Aromatherapy                   ideal."'                                        mind, encourage feelings of well-being
    Using aromaa may help relax and                   Rose, Geranium, Bergamot and                and help you put things in perspective. It
relieve stress. Stress is known to cause a        Mehssa can elevate your mood without a          may also help with deep-seated tension,
myriad of physical maladies far beyond            sedative effect, while Sandalwood,              sadness, stress and nervousness, bringing
the scope of winter blues and SAD. By no          Chamomile, Ylang Ylang, Clary Sage              about inner tranquility;
means is aromatherapy intended to cure            and Lavender possess both anti-depres-
seasonal moodiness or SAD symptoms,               sant and sedative qualities. "Jasmine is        •    Lemongrass
but it may be used to lessen irritahility         an excellent wake-up oil, cheering you              The pleasantly sharp, sweet lemony
and tension, hoost energy, and offer              up and dispersing mental fatigue. In            scent is like a cool stimulating shower.
support with emotional issues.                    addition, if you're suffering from anxiety,     Not traditionally thought of as an 'anti-
    Be cautious of products that do not           try Neroli to boost your confidence.'"          depressant', this oil has an intense radi-
contain a list of ingredients on their                                                            ant energy which has an invigorating and
                                                                                                  revitalizing effect - perfect to pick you up
                                                                                                  and get you going on those cold dreary
                                                                                                  winter mornings. This oil can help
                                                                                                  combat grumpiness, irritability and tired-
                                                                                                  ness, especially when travelling. Reviving
                                                                                                  and energizing, it stimulates the left
                                                                                                  brain, aids concentration and brings
                                                                                                  about fresh ideas - helpful if you are feel-
     -.-«. ^l..WT'   I   '   ^ ^ ^ ^ B   RBwmon
                                                                                                  ing hlocked and in need of inspiration.

                                                                                                  1. Aromaihtrapy. Retrieved 8 July
                                                                                                       2007. http;//dictionar)'.
 Aromatherapy and Carrier Oils

24                                                                                                                         POSITIVE HEALTH December 2007
2.   Personal Interview. Aromatherapist Virginia Evangetou {Ms), Greece. Certified
     practitioner, teacher, researcher and consultant.
3.   Rosentiial and Norman E. Winter B/ues. The Gullford Press. New York. 1998.
4.   Seasonal Affective Disorder. Patient UK. May 2003. Retrieved 17 Aug. 2007.>                                                                              &CMOOU o r MATUISAL
5.   Postoiache T. Patients with Seasonai Affective Disorder Have Lower Odor
     Detection Threshoids Than Controi Subjects. Arch Gen Psychiatry. S»» 1119-22.
6.   Lee iS and GJ Lee. Effects ofLtivender Aromatherapy on Insomnia and Depression
     in Women Callege Students. Taehan Kanho Hakhoe Chi. 36(1): 136-43. 2006.
7.   Kim MJ et al. The Effects of Aromatherapy on Pain, Depression, and Life
     Satlsfoctian of Arthritis Patients. Taehan Kanho Hakhoe Chi. 35(1):186-94. 2005.
a.   Burnett KM et al. Scent and Mood State Foiiowing an Anxiety-provoking Task.
     Psychologicol Reports. 95(1): 707-22. 2004.                                                           The art of Aromatherapy takes your
9,   Lin PW et al. Efficacy of Aromatherapy {Lavandula angustifolia) as an                                   massage to a new dimension
     Intervention for Agitated Behaviours in Chinese Older Persons with Dementia:
     a Cross-Over Randomized Trial. International journal ofCeriairic Psychiatry.
     22(5)! 405-10. 2007
                                                                                                           J^romaiherapy Course
Supplemental Reading List
1.   Len Price and Shiriey Price. Aromatherapy for Health Professionals. Churchlii                              New Aromatherapy Diploma (ITEC)
     Livingstone. 1995. updated 1999. Revised 2006.
2.   Robert Tisserand and Tony Baiacs. Esservt/ol Oil Safety • A Guide for Health Care                       intensive course starts May-Juty 2008 at
     Professionals. Churchiii Livingstone. 1995.                                                                   our beautiful Brighton venue
About the Author
    Wendy Gist MS Natural Health is a Southwest-based freelance                                                                 Apply Now
writer who often writes about healthy living. She contributes
articles to several leading publications, such as Alternative                                                The Wilbury Schooi of Naturoi Therapy
Medicine, Better Nutrition, Her Sports and Fitness, Herbs for                                               274 Dyke Road, Brighton, Sussex BNl 5AE
Health, Pilates Style, Today's Diet and Nutrition and Urban                                                           Tei: 01273 552766
Male. She finds tbat writing is the best approach to helping
others. She may be contacted via;                                                         coursescg)                                                                                         

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POSITIVE HEALTH DecBmber 2007                                                                                                                                                 26

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